A property settlement is an important element of any divorce settlement. This is especially true where the couple has been married for many years and has substantial assets. It is very important for couples where one spouse, typically the woman, remained home, often caring for the children.
Because these women may have abandoned a career two or three decades ago, they may have few readily marketable skills and their earning capacity would be unable to maintain their married lifestyle. By obtaining an accurate accounting of the marital assets, their attorney and accountants can ensure that they receive a fair and adequate property division.
For couples involved in a high net-worth divorce, an area of constant concern is the hiding of assets. If the one spouse owns a business or professional practice, there may be a strong temptation, and as important, an ability, to hide assets.
Offshore accounts are one vehicle some spouses have used, but the latest development is the use of Bitcoin to hide assets. The digital currency has the advantage of being virtually anomnomyous and difficult to tie to a particular individual.
Given the novelty of Bitcoin, few attorneys or courts would have encountered it, and may not be aware of the risk. They may not include digital assets in a request for disclosure, and the other side may not volunteer. This may change, as courts become more experienced and comprehensive in their disclosure orders.
Everyone should remember that candor to the tribunal is expected and willful efforts to evade court orders could result in unexpected contempt orders being issued by court, which in addition to sanctions, would clearly damage your credibility with the family court judge.
Source: CNBC, "Bitcoin could be used to hide assets in divorces, warn lawyers," Jane Croft, June 3, 2014